Psalm 104:15
And wine that makes glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And wine that . . .—Better, and wine gladdens man’s heart, making his face shine more than oil (see-margin. The alternative follows the LXX. and Vulg., and suggests the anointing with oil at a banquet), and bread man’s heart sustains.

Oil.—For oil and its uses see Psalm 133:2; Psalm 141:5.

Strengtheneth.—Properly, props or supports. (Comp. “the staff of bread,” Psalm 105:16), and our “staff of life,” and for the same phrase Genesis 18:5; Judges 19:5).

104:10-18 When we reflect upon the provision made for all creatures, we should also notice the natural worship they render to God. Yet man, forgetful ungrateful man, enjoys the largest measure of his Creator's kindness. the earth, varying in different lands. Nor let us forget spiritual blessings; the fruitfulness of the church through grace, the bread of everlasting life, the cup of salvation, and the oil of gladness. Does God provide for the inferior creatures, and will he not be a refuge to his people?And wine that maketh glad the heart of man ... - literally, "And wine (it) gladdens the heart of man to make his face to shine more than oil." Margin, "to make his face shine with oil, or more than oil." The latter expresses the idea most accurately. So DeWette renders it. The meaning is, that the earth is made to produce wine (or grapes which produce wine), and this exhilarates the heart, so that the effect is seen on the countenance, making it more bright and cheerful than it is when anointed with oil. On the use of oil, see the notes at Psalm 23:5. The reference here, in the original, is not to wine and oil as produced by the earth, as would seem to be implied in our translation, but to wine that makes the heart glad, and the face brighter than if anointed with oil. The psalmist here states a fact about the use of wine - a wellknown fact that it exhilarates the heart, and brightens the countenance; and he states it merely as a fact. He says nothing on the question whether the use of wine as a beverage is, or is not, proper and safe. Compare the notes at John 2:10.

And bread which strengtheneth man's heart - That is, Which sustains the heart - that being regarded as the seat of life. Compare Genesis 18:5.

14, 15. so that men and beasts are abundantly provided with food.

for the service—literally, "for the culture," &c., by which he secures the results.

oil … shine—literally, "makes his face to shine more than oil," that is, so cheers and invigorates him, that outwardly he appears better than if anointed.

strengtheneth … heart—gives vigor to man (compare Jud 19:5).

Wine; he also bringeth out of the earth the vines which yield wine.

Oil to make his face to shine: he alludes to the custom of those times and places, which was upon solemn and festival occasions to anoint their faces with oil. See Psalm 23:5. But these words with the former are by divers learned interpreters rendered otherwise, which seems more agreeable to the order and contexture of the Hebrew text,

And (he giveth) wine that maketh glad the heart of man, to make (or, that he may make, i.e. that thereby he may also make) his face to shine more than oil, i.e. more than it shineth when it is anointed with oil; or, as with oil. So he speaks only of the wine, which he commends from two qualities, that it makes the heart cheerful, and the countenance pleasant.

Bread, i.e. bread corn, by a metonymy.

Which strengtheneth man’s heart; which hath a singular faculty to preserve or renew our strength and rigour; whence it is called the staff of life. And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,.... That is, by means of rain watering the earth, vines are caused to grow out of it; which produce wine, that has such a virtue in it, as to cheer the heart of man, even of a miserable, distressed, and afflicted man, as the word (p) is supposed to signify, Judges 9:13. Of this nature are (and therefore are compared to wine, or expressed by it) the love of God and Christ; the blessings of grace, the doctrines of the Gospel, the ordinances of it; particularly that of the Lord's supper, and even the joys of heaven.

And oil to make his face to shine: or, "to make his face shine more than oil" (q); and so it continues the account of the virtue of wine, which not only cheers the heart, but makes the countenance brisk and lively, and even shine again: but, according to our version, and others, this is a distinct effect of the rain, causing olive trees to grow out of the earth, productive of oil; which being eaten, fattens, and so makes the face to shine; as it also does by anointing with it, which was much in use for that purpose in the eastern countries, as well as for cheering and refreshing; see Ruth 3:3. Pliny (r) says, oil purifies or clears; and particularly of oil of almonds, he says, that it makes clean, makes bodies soft, smooths the skin, procures gracefulness; and, with honey, takes spots or specks out of the face. Kimchi makes mention of another use of oil, in lighting lamps; by which the face of man is enlightened, or light is given him. So the Targum,

"to enlighten the face with oil.''

To this the grace of the Spirit is often compared in Scripture, with which both Christ and his members are said to be anointed, Acts 10:38. This not only cheers and refreshes them, and is therefore called the oil of joy and gladness, Psalm 45:7, but beautifies and adorns them, and even makes them fat and flourishing, and so their faces to shine; as well as causes their lamps of profession to burn clearly, and the light of their good works to shine before men to the glory of God.

And bread which strengthens man's heart: the earth being watered with rain, causes the wheat sown in it to grow up; of which bread is made for the support of man's life, and is the chief sustenance of it; and is therefore commonly called "the staff of life", and, by the prophet, "the whole stay of bread", Isaiah 3:1, by which human nature is invigorated, and the strength of man is kept up and increased; for the phrase, see Genesis 18:5. Of this nature are the provisions of God's house, which go by the same name, the word and ordinances; and especially Christ Jesus himself, the true and living bread; by which the Christian's spiritual life is supported and maintained, and he is comforted and refreshed, and strengthened for every good work.

(p) "mortalis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "sorry man", Ainsworth. (q) "prae oleo", Vatablus, Gejerus; "magis quam oleum", Piscator. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 23. c. 4.

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 15. - And wine that maketh glad the heart of man. The food suitable to man consists, first, of wine, which gladdens his heart (comp. Judges 9:13); secondly, of oil to make his face to shine, or give him a cheerful countenance; and thirdly, of bread, which strengtheneth man's heart, which is "the staff of life," and the main sustenance of the entire body. It was the glory of the promised land to produce in abundance these three essentials (Deuteronomy 8:8; Deuteronomy 11:14; 2 Kings 18:32). Psalm 104:8 continues with the words אל־מקום (cf. Genesis 1:9, אחד אל־מקום): the waters retreat to the place which (זה, cf. Psalm 104:26, for אשׁר, Genesis 39:20) God has assigned to them as that which should contain them. He hath set a bound (גּבוּל, synon. חק, Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22) for them beyond which they may not flow forth again to cover the earth, as the primordial waters of chaos have done.
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